(Encounters with the Nagual by Armando Torres)
As a base for inner silence, Carlos suggested that I fight against what he called my ‘domestic condition’; that is, my membership in a social group. He referred to it as a first step toward freedom.
“To put our interactions on trial means to analyze all over again a heap of things we have always considered as facts, beginning with our sexual role, and ending with family obligations and the religious and civic commitments we usually involve ourselves in. The purpose is not to judge or to subvert anything, but to observe. Observing, in itself, has an effect on things.”
I asked him to explain how the passive act of witnessing can modify anything.
He answered that attention, however tenuous, is never passive, because it is made from the same matter which makes up the universe. Even the mere act of exercising the attention implies an energy transfer.
“It is like the velocity which when being applied to an object, adds mass to it. Likewise, the focus of attention adds reality to things, and that reality has a limit. Beyond that limit, the world we know disintegrates.”
“The secret of the sorcerers’ marvels is the channeling of attention. It doesn’t matter how they apply it, for good or for bad; what changes is the intention, not the force of the focus. For new seers, the magic of sorcery is not in its results, but in the ways we get to them. Therefore, your best intent as an apprentice is to silence your mind.”
When I returned to see him I admitted that, although I had spent much time trying to follow his advice, I didn’t notice any substantial advance in my struggle to achieve inner silence. On the contrary, I had noticed that my thoughts were more agitated and more confused than ever.
He explained that this sensation is a normal consequence of the practice.
“Like all beginners, you are trying to classify silence like another element in your inventory of beliefs.”
“The objective of your inventory was to make you aware of the weight of our prejudices. We use almost all our available energy on maintaining an image of the world, and we do it by means of conscious or unconscious suggestions. When an apprentice is liberated from that jail, he has the sensation that he has fallen into an ocean of peace and silence. It doesn’t matter if he speaks, sings, cries, or meditates, that sensation remains.”
“In the first stages of the path, it’s very difficult to handle silence as a practice, because as soon as we detect an absence of thoughts, a mischievous little voice congratulates us for it. And that automatically breaks the state.”
“The problem happens because you confuse the objective of sorcerers with an ideal. The concept of ‘silence’ is too delicate for a mind like yours, accustomed to classifications. It is obvious that you have thought about the exercise in auditory terms, as a lack of sound. But that’s not what it is about.”
“What sorcerers want is something simpler. They try to resist the suggestions, and that’s all. If you are able to make yourself the owner of your mind, and to think properly, without prejudice or false convictions, you will be able to cancel out the domesticated part of your nature, a supreme achievement. Otherwise, you will not even understand what the exercise is about.”
“Once we learn how to prevent them, without being offended by them nor giving them any kind of attention, the commands of the mind will stay in our interior for some time, but eventually they will leave. So it is not a question of getting rid of them, but rather killing them with boredom.”
“To reach that state, you have to rattle your inventory of ideas. I asked you to begin with your beliefs, but it would have worked equally well if, for example, you had listed all your relationships and affections, or the most attractive elements in your personal history, or your hopes, goals, and concerns, or your likes, preferences, and aversions. The important thing is that you become aware of your thought patterns.”
“The magic of all inventories is based in the order of its components. When we rattle that order, when it lacks some of the pieces that we gave it, the whole pattern begins to crumble. This is the way it is with routines of the mind; you change one parameter – suddenly there is an open door where it should be a wall – and that changes everything. The mind trembles!”
“That is what you have been experiencing as an extraordinary activation of your interior dialogue. You didn’t even notice it before, but now you know it is there. Some day that presence will be so heavy that you will do something about it. That day you will stop being an ordinary man and will become a sorcerer.”